Matt Walsh

Matt Walsh
Hard Luck

Self-produced
Available on cdbaby.com

By Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro
September 2007

The minute I laid my eyes on Matt Walsh’s disc, Hard Luck, I started thinking about the Blues Music Awards. Now, notice I said my eyes, not my ears - as of yet, I hadn't heard a note of the music. However, my decision was already made that if there were ever a category for the "BLUES' BEST (Hair)'DO", this young man is not only getting my nomination, but he's a lock to win - pun intended. And by the way, that's envy speaking, not sarcasm.

On Hard Luck, Matt’s debut release, he also makes several other impressive first impressions. A visit to his Web site will tell you that Walsh is known for his, "fifties style of Chicago blues, with detours into rockabilly, swing and roots rock." What it doesn't tell you is how well he does it, and that he does it with the feeling and confidence of a seasoned veteran.

Speaking of seasoned veterans, you should recognize a few of them giving him a hand here. Joining Walsh, who wrote all the tracks, is Brookline’s own Bob Margolin, on electric, acoustic, slide and national steel guitars, and vocals. Also on the disc are Jesse Major, F. J. Ventre, and "Wasabi" Bobby Kelly on upright bass; Kyle Couch on drums; Max Drake on guitar and mandolin; Matt Hill on guitar and lap dobro; Chuck Cotton on drums and vocals; and Rene Aaron on harmonica.

A fast paced rocker titled "Leaving My Baby" opens the disc with Margolin leading the band on guitar. Walsh’s vocals immediately make an impression on this one, and the rhythm of Chuck and F J highlight the track.

Other than listening to the three or four slide guitar players who I consider to be the cream of the crop, I generally prefer to not even hear it played. Hearing Matt on "Why My Baby Ain’t Around," just increased my favorite slide players to a complete handful. Matt shines on this Margolinesque track.

"Breaking Up Over You" is good old, down home Piedmont-style roots blues at its best. This one features Matt perfectly pickin' an acoustic guitar, and Rene masterfully blowing into a harp. Equally as interesting is "Pointless Blues," a very laid back number featuring a vocal duet between Matt and Cotton. The track is highlighted by Drake and Hill on mandolin and lap dobro. Good stuff on these two.

Fans of good old straight up Chicago blues will enjoy “Hard Luck" and "20 More Ways." Both tracks feature great guitar licks - the first by Margolin, and the second by Matt.

Both tracks are also highlighted by Matt belting out some good blues vocals.

Other tracks on Hard Luck include: "One Look," "Hard To Find,” "Goin’ Out," "Sit And Wonder," and "Woody’s Rag.

As I opened this review, I made a humorous reference to the Blues Music Awards. However, I'm certainly not joking when I say that if Hard Luck should catch a bit of "good luck" and fall into enough right hands, Matt Walsh may just get himself a "Best New Artist Debut" nod.

Check MATT out at www.mattwalshblues.com (While you're there, tell him Pete the Blewzzman is crazy about his disc.........and his 'do.)

Editor’s Note: Florida-based Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro, is a contributing writer for BLUESWAX and the Blues Editor at www.Mary4Music.com, where you can read many more CD and live show reviews, view lots of blues photographs and find an abundance of blues material.

www.mattwalshblues.com

www.Mary4Music.com

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